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Old 11-17-2017, 06:13 AM   #1
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Question Another F53 Handling Question

The first real trip with the new 2018 Sunstar 32YE went very well. 1,700 miles, three RV parks, one national seashore park, and two nights at Walmarts. Absolutely no problems to report, everything functions as it should, except,,,, it handles like an old bread delivery truck in the wind, and then there's that thing that happens when a truck passes you.

On flat road with no wind, it is rock solid and tracks straight as an arrow with the steering wheel perfectly still and in proper position. Windy conditions are another story, conditions were a bit extreme around the Chesapeake Bay area though, and having towable RVs for decades, we managed. This is our first motor home however.

So here’s the question;

Which single upgrade gives the best bang for the buck?

Track bars?, steering stabilizer?, or SumoSprings?

I’m aware of the cheap handling fix with the bolt position on the front stabilizer bar and that may be on the list too. It came with a rear stabilizer (sway bar).

If I’m going to throw money at this I’d like the first upgrade to be the biggie as far as improvement goes. Eventually I’ll get all of the above installed if necessary.

Thanks in advance !!
B.T.
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Old 11-17-2017, 07:07 AM   #2
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We recently finished a 10,000 mile 4 month trip. I'm in a used coach and before we left I did the CHF both front and back. The previous owner had already installed a front steering mechanism (can't remember the name but it's springs attached to the axle and the steering knuckle). I bought a set of extender plates from TeJay (on IRV2.com) and installed that up front to bring the front sway-bar into factory alignment. I replaced the rear sway-bar bushings because the stockers had melted away. About 2/3 through the trip I was at my brothers and we installed a rear Track Bar. BEST THING WE DID!!! My wife can now drive as the coach handles SO MUCH BETTER now. That's where I'd spend my money. As far as I know we are still on the factory shocks.
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Old 11-17-2017, 07:21 AM   #3
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About 2/3 through the trip I was at my brothers and we installed a rear Track Bar. BEST THING WE DID!!! My wife can now drive as the coach handles SO MUCH BETTER now. That's where I'd spend my money. As far as I know we are still on the factory shocks.
Thanks for the info. Since the improvement was that noticeable for you, it should be the same for me as well... hopefully...
Thanks again.
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Old 11-18-2017, 04:05 AM   #4
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Rear track bar made a night and day difference....................Remember, you are driving a giant box on wheels. Nothing helps is you have cross winds, just becomes a tiring drive.
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Old 11-18-2017, 10:31 PM   #5
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I just installed a Roadmaster Steering Stabilzer and Sumo Springs. Both helped a great deal.

I'm not so sure that any one thing is the answer. The Steering Stabilizer helped with trucks and cross winds. The Sumos helped the ride and with body lean. I may still add a beefy rear sway bar.
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Old 11-19-2017, 06:31 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info. Ours already has a pretty beefy factory rear sway bar, but no rear track bar. There is also a very beefy factory front track bar installed in addition to the front sway bar. I'll likely do this in stages, rear track bar first, then the Sumos, and steering stabilizer. Seems like all three add up to the actual solution. Hopefully I wont have to go bigger on the sway bars. Thanks again...
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Old 11-19-2017, 08:25 AM   #7
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The aftermarket rear sway bar is added in addition to the existing rear SB and is about twice as thick. Folks say it really helps get rid of the tippy body roll. Aftermarket front SBs replace the existing front bar and from what I hear are less effective.

I've head a few good reviews of trac bars but, as I understand it - which may not be a correct understanding - all they do is locate the rear axle better to keep the axle from moving around.
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Old 11-19-2017, 04:37 PM   #8
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If your coach rolls, it needs sway bars, bigger sway bars, or new sway bar bushings (for older coaches where the bushings may be worn). Some folks reduce sway on the F-53 chassis by implementing the "Cheap Handling Fix" (see link). It's free.

If your coach get pushed side-to-side by passing trucks, it may benefit from a rear track bar.

That's the Cliff Notes version.
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Old 11-24-2017, 08:23 PM   #9
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I did quite a bit to my F53 suspension to improve the handling. All of my additions made a difference and I am glad I did all the upgrades. I did airbags to improve ride comfort, front and rear anti-sway bars for stability, rear trac bar to improve handling when trucks drive by, and Safe-T Plus steering stabilizer to improve the steering and reduce some of the white knuckle driving. If I had to, I would do it all again.
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thompwil View Post
The first real trip with the new 2018 Sunstar 32YE went very well. 1,700 miles, three RV parks, one national seashore park, and two nights at Walmarts. Absolutely no problems to report, everything functions as it should, except,,,, it handles like an old bread delivery truck in the wind, and then there's that thing that happens when a truck passes you.

On flat road with no wind, it is rock solid and tracks straight as an arrow with the steering wheel perfectly still and in proper position. Windy conditions are another story, conditions were a bit extreme around the Chesapeake Bay area though, and having towable RVs for decades, we managed. This is our first motor home however.

So here’s the question;

Which single upgrade gives the best bang for the buck?

Track bars?, steering stabilizer?, or SumoSprings?

I’m aware of the cheap handling fix with the bolt position on the front stabilizer bar and that may be on the list too. It came with a rear stabilizer (sway bar).

If I’m going to throw money at this I’d like the first upgrade to be the biggie as far as improvement goes. Eventually I’ll get all of the above installed if necessary.

Thanks in advance !!
B.T.

I am rather certain you already have front and rear sway bars, and a front track bar. In my opinion your next best bet would be a rear track bar. Sway bars impact lean and track bars help eliminate the springs flexing sideways in wind and when trucks pass.

Also be certain your tires are correctly inflated for your fully loaded coach weight. Less air gives a less harsh ride, but allows for more sidewall flex. More air gives a harsher ride, but a fair amount less sidewall flex. Have someone go to the rear corner on the outside of your coach and rock it sideways and watch tire flex, especially on the front tires. Also observe the rear axle and coach relationship change while the side to side rocking is happening. The rear track bar will help lessen that.
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Old 12-03-2017, 07:07 AM   #11
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Indeed I do have front and rear sway bars and a pretty massive front track bar. The plan now is to install a rear track bar first and see how much improvement I get. With the holidays and cold weather arriving here, I may have to do the install in AZ in January. Looks like an easy install. Thanks to all for the info.
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Old 12-17-2017, 09:01 PM   #12
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My F53 chassis also came with front and rear anti-sway bars, but I purchased Hellwig anti-sway bars which were larger in diameter. Also, in my case, the Hellwig rear anti-sway bar is in addition to the existing OEM anti-sway bar. Good luck!
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Old 12-27-2017, 05:40 PM   #13
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Well, I completed the rear half of the CHF yesterday. I thought the rear would be easier but after two hours on back on gravel (with a cheap carpet between my spine and the rocks) I was able to get it done. Now looking at the front, I see that it's going to be a LOT easier, hope to get it done on Saturday. I also have TeJay's plates which should simplify it more.
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Old 12-28-2017, 08:34 AM   #14
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Since your coach handles well except for passing trucks and or side wind the rear track bar is the first place I would start. The coach also has a short wheelbase for its length which means the rear overhang is on the long side. The track bar would help with that as well.
We also looked at and liked that floorplan, good luck with it!
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:31 PM   #15
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I have a Itasca Sunstar 30T. I installed Sumo Springs front and back as well as the Safe T Plus steering stabilizer. The Safe T Plus stabilizer works great. I can feel it doing its job with pot holes. I know it will help with flat tires. After installing the Sumo Springs, it helped with some of the lean front to back and side to side but on rough roads the ride was harsh. I keep my 19.5" tires at the factory recommended 82 lbs cold tire pressure. At 60 mph on a warm day (>90 degrees) my tire pressure is about 100 lbs.

I found a RV suspension mechanic, we are going to try different shocks and the add on front & rear sway bars without the Sumo Springs. The front and then the rears. I will let you know what we find through this expensive troubleshooting process. I was Winnebago/Itasca gave us more support on this process.

Thanks for sharing your insights.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:53 PM   #16
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My RV came with Bilstein shocks. My understanding is this are good shocks. If you have Bilstein shocks, I would go with the anti-sway bars first before replacing the shocks (unless they are worn and need to be replaced).

Just my thoughts.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:55 PM   #17
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Do some research on tire pressure setting. Getting the fully loaded coach weighed properly. Checking cold pressure inflation charts for your actual weight, not the max as posted by the factory. Don’t worry about what your tires heat up to when driving. Just find the correct cold tire pressure for your actual weight and set it there.
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Old 08-26-2019, 05:35 AM   #18
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Generally the CHF and a rear track bar plus getting an accurate weighing and adjusting tire pressures ar the first things done. These normally resolve most of the issues. Have you done these?


Can you explain your comment that the steering stabilizr will help with flat tires? Have you ever had a flat tire? Do you have a TPMS system?


Thanks
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Old 08-26-2019, 07:12 AM   #19
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My RV came with Bilstein shocks. My understanding is this are good shocks. If you have Bilstein shocks, I would go with the anti-sway bars first before replacing the shocks (unless they are worn and need to be replaced).

Just my thoughts.
John, Bilstein shocks are good shocks, but the consensus is that Ford puts an OEM model on the F53 chassis more suitable for trucks hauling rocks than a home with people inside.

Koni FSD shocks are the popular replacement. Though some folks replace the OEM shocks with a different model Bilstein.
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Old 08-26-2019, 10:17 AM   #20
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I am rather certain you already have front and rear sway bars, and a front track bar. In my opinion your next best bet would be a rear track bar. Sway bars impact lean and track bars help eliminate the springs flexing sideways in wind and when trucks pass.

Also be certain your tires are correctly inflated for your fully loaded coach weight. Less air gives a less harsh ride, but allows for more sidewall flex. More air gives a harsher ride, but a fair amount less sidewall flex. Have someone go to the rear corner on the outside of your coach and rock it sideways and watch tire flex, especially on the front tires. Also observe the rear axle and coach relationship change while the side to side rocking is happening. The rear track bar will help lessen that.
Great advice!

In my case, I first added sumo springs. They solved the sway problem but made the ride harsher.

Since I was still unhappy with the outcome, I got professional Help!
I had the Road Performance Assessment done by Henderson’s Line-Up so I could get recommendations specific to how we use our coach. The owner recommended a rear track bar, and an extra rear sway bar. They also replaced the OEM shocks with two Koni FSD shocks at each wheel. They also changed the air pressure based on a 4-corner weighing. Finally, a Safe-t-plus steering stabilizer was added to control and safety.

After all this, the rear still seemed to harsh so the owner recommended the rear sumos be removed.

After all this, the ride is much better in many situations, and just a little better in other situations. It’s still a truck chassis! I’m now satisfied with our ride and glad I made the changes. Most importantly, my wife is happier that all her clothes hanging in the wardrobe doesn’t end up on the floor any longer after a rough ride to the campground. :-)

While I was there, I also got to drive the owner’s Tiffen Open Road with Liqud Springs installed. That was an amazing experience, but it only solved the rear suspension issues. When I drove the Tiffin over bad road, I could feel the front like normal, but I hardly felt the rear suspension! When they come out with Liquid Springs for both front and rear, I just might change my mind.
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